Online Moral Disengagement, Cyberbullying, and Cyber-Aggression

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101 Citations (Scopus)


The study of moral disengagement has greatly informed research on aggression and bullying. There has been some debate on whether cyberbullies and other cyber-aggressors show more or less of a tendency for moral disengagement than traditional aggressors and bullies. However, according to the triadic model of reciprocal determinism, an individual's behavior influences and is influenced by both personal factors and his/her social environment. This article reviews the literature to propose a new conceptual framework addressing how features of the online context may enable specific mechanisms that facilitate moral disengagement. Specific affordances for moral disengagement proposed here include the paucity of social-emotional cues, the ease of disseminating communication via social networks, and the media attention on cyberbullying, which may elicit moral justification, euphemistic labeling, palliative comparison, diffusion and displacement of responsibility, minimizing and disregarding the consequences for others, dehumanization, and attribution of blame. These ideas suggest that by providing affordances for these mechanisms of moral disengagement, online settings may facilitate cyber-aggression and cyberbullying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-405
Number of pages5
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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